Monday, December 30, 2013

Message for Today

Dear brethren, the Lord is coming. Lift up your thoughts and heads and rejoice. Oh, we would think that those who hear the joyful news, who claim to love Jesus, would be filled with joy unutterable and full of glory. This is the good, the joyful news which should electrify every soul, which should be repeated in our homes and told to those whom we meet on the street. What more joyful news can be communicated! Caviling and contention with believers or unbelievers is not the work God has given us to do.

If Christ is my Saviour, my sacrifice, my atonement, then I shall never perish. Believing on Him, I have life forevermore. Oh, that all who believe the truth would believe in Jesus as their own Saviour. I do not mean that cheap faith unsupported by works, but that earnest, living, constant, abiding faith, that eats the flesh and drinks the blood of the Son of God. I want not only to be pardoned for the transgression of God’s holy law, but I want to be lifted into the sunshine of God’s countenance. Not simply to be admitted to heaven, but to have an abundant entrance.
Salvation a Union With Christ

Are we so insensible as a peculiar people, a holy nation, to the inexpressible love that God has manifested for us? Salvation is not to be baptized, not to have our names upon the church books, not to preach the truth. But it is a living union with Jesus Christ, to be renewed in heart, doing the works of Christ in faith and labor of love, in patience, meekness, and hope. Every soul united to Christ will be a living missionary to all around him. He will labor for those near and those afar off. He will have no sectional feeling, no interest merely to build up one branch of the work over which he presides and there let his zeal end. All will work with interest to make every branch strong. There will be no self-love, no selfish interest. The cause is one, the truth a great whole.

Well may the question be asked with earnest, anxious heart, “Is envy cherished, is jealousy permitted to find a place in my heart?” If so, Christ is not there. “Do I love the law of God, is the love of Jesus Christ in my heart?” If we love one another as Christ has loved us then we are getting ready for the blessed heaven of peace and rest. There is no struggling there to be first, to have the supremacy; all will love their neighbor as themselves. Oh, that God would open the understanding and speak to the hearts of our churches by arousing the individual members....

Those who are at ease in Zion need to be aroused. Great is their accountability who bear the truth and yet feel no weight or burden for souls. Oh, for men and women professing the truth to arouse, to take on the yoke of Christ, to lift His burdens. There are wanted those who will not have merely a nominal interest but a Christlike interest, unselfish—an intense ardor that will not flag under difficulties or cool because iniquity abounds.

I want to speak to the ears of our people in America in every church. Awake from the dead, and Christ will give you life. Souls are perishing for the light of truth as it is in Jesus. We are standing upon the very borders of the eternal world. Fair-weather Christians will not be wanted for this work. The sentimental and tasteful religion is not needed for this time. There must be intensity brought into our faith and in the proclamation of truth. I tell you, a new life is proceeding from satanic agencies to work with a power we have not hitherto realized. And shall not a new power from above take possession of God’s people? The truth, sanctifying in its influence, must be urged upon the people. There must be earnest supplications offered to God, agonizing prayer to Him, that our hopes as a people may not be founded on suppositions, but on eternal realities. We must know for ourselves, by the evidence of God’s Word, whether we are in the faith, going to heaven or not. The moral standard of character is God’s law. Do we meet its requirements? Are the Lord’s people bringing their property, their time, their talents, and all their influence into the work for this time? Let us arouse. “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God” (Colossians 3:1).—Letter 55, 1886.

Confederacies will increase in number and power as we draw nearer to the end of time. These confederacies will create opposing influences to the truth, forming new parties of professed believers who will act out their own delusive theories. The apostasy will increase. “Some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (1 Timothy 4:1). Men and women have confederated to oppose the Lord God of heaven, and the church is only half awake to the situation. There needs to be much more of prayer, much more of earnest effort, among professed believers.

Satanic agencies in human form will take part in this last great conflict to oppose the building up of the kingdom of God. And heavenly angels in human guise will be on the field of action. The two opposing parties will continue to exist till the closing up of the last great chapter in this world’s history. Satanic agencies are in every city. We cannot afford to be off our guard for one moment. The true, stanch believers will pray more and more, and will talk less of matters of little consequence. More and more decided testimonies will come from their lips to encourage the weak and the needy. This is no time for the people of God to be weaklings, neither one thing nor the other. Let all be diligent students of the Word. We must be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. We cannot live haphazard lives and be true Christians.—The Review and Herald, August 5, 1909.

Selected Messages Book 2, pp 381- 383

Local courts reviving 'debtors' prison' for overdue fines, fees

By Kelley Beaucar Vlahos

Published December 28, 2013

In this May 24, 2011 file photo, inmates make phone calls from their cell at a county jail in Santa Ana, Calif.Reuters

As if out of a Charles Dickens novel, people struggling to pay overdue fines and fees associated with court costs for even the simplest traffic infractions are being thrown in jail across the United States.

Critics are calling the practice the new "debtors' prison" -- referring to the jails that flourished in the U.S. and Western Europe over 150 years ago. Before the time of bankruptcy laws and social safety nets, poor folks and ruined business owners were locked up until their debts were paid off.

Reforms eventually outlawed the practice. But groups like the Brennan Center for Justice and the American Civil Liberties Union say it's been reborn in local courts which may not be aware it's against the law to send indigent people to jail over unpaid fines and fees -- or they just haven't been called on it until now.

Advocates are trying to convince courts that aside from the legal questions surrounding the practice, it is disproportionately jailing poor people and doesn't even boost government revenues -- in fact, governments lose money in the process.

"It's a waste of taxpayer resources, and it undermines the integrity of the justice system," Carl Takei, staff attorney for the ACLU's National Prison Project, told

"The problem is it's not actually much of a money-making proposition ... to throw people in jail for fines and fees when they can't afford it. If counties weren't spending the money jailing people for not paying debts, they could be spending the money in other ways."

The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University's School of Law released a "Tool Kit for Action" in 2012 that broke down the cost to municipalities to jail debtors in comparison with the amount of old debt it was collecting. It doesn't look like a bargain. For example, according to the report, Mecklenburg County, N.C., collected $33,476 in debts in 2009, but spent $40,000 jailing 246 debtors -- a loss of $6,524.

Fines are the court-imposed payments linked to a conviction -- whether it be for a minor traffic violation like driving without a license or a small drug offense, all the way up to felony. Fees are all those extras tacked on by the court to fund administrative services. These vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, with some courts imposing more than others.

As states and counties grapple with shrinking budgets and yearly shortfalls, new fees are often imposed to make up the difference, though they can be quite overwhelming to individuals passing through the system -- 80 percent of whom qualify as indigent (impoverished and unable to pay), according to the Brennan Center. Florida, for example, has added 20 new fees since 1996, according to the center. North Carolina imposes late fees on debt not paid and surcharges on payment plans.

More and more, courts are dragging people in for fines and fees that have ballooned due to interest imposed on the initial sums. Some owe money to the public defender's office for the representation they received during their time in court. Others incur hundreds of dollars in fees while they're incarcerated -- for everything from toilet paper to the beds inmates sleep on.

The tab for the average offender could be as low as $250 or as high as $4,000. Both the ACLU and Brennan have been targeting big states with multiple jurisdictions they say are flouting U.S. Supreme Court rulings in 1970, 1971 and 1983. Those rulings essentially say courts cannot extend or impose a jail sentence for unpaid fines and fees if individuals do not have the ability to pay.

At the very least, according to the high court, the courts must inquire and assess whether a person is indigent and might benefit from an alternative method of payment, like community service, before sentencing.

"Even though a lot of jurisdictions do have statutes on the books that allow judges to waive fines and fees, it doesn't always happen," explained Lauren Brooke-Eisen, counsel for the Brennan Center's Justice Program.

Much of the time, probation or the conviction itself will hinder individuals from finding employment (Brennan estimates that some 60 percent are still unemployed a year after leaving jail). But another incarceration over debt could either ruin the job they managed to get or make it even harder to find one.

Many jurisdictions have taken to hiring private collection/probation companies to go after debtors, giving them the authority to revoke probation and incarcerate if they can't pay. Research into the practice has found that private companies impose their own additional surcharges. Some 15 private companies have emerged to run these services in the South, including the popular Judicial Correction Services (JCS).

In 2012, Circuit Judge Hub Harrington at Harpersville Municipal Court in Alabama shut down what he called the "debtors' prison" process there, echoing complaints that private companies are only in it for the money. He cited JCS in part for sending indigent people to jail. Calling it a "judicially sanctioned extortion racket," Harrington said many defendants were locked up on bogus failure-to-appear warrants, and slapped with more fines and fees as a result.

Repeated calls to JCS in Alabama and Georgia were not returned.

Defenders of the collection programs say the money is owed to the state and it's the government's right to go after it. "When, and only when, an individual is convicted of a crime, there are required fees and court costs," Pamela Dembe, president of the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, which oversees Philadelphia, said in a statement to reporters in May. An earlier review by the courts found an estimated 400,000 residents owed the city money. "If the defendant doesn't pay, law-abiding taxpayers must pay these costs."

Meanwhile, there's evidence that groups like the ACLU are prompting reforms.

For example, the ACLU released "The Outskirts of Hope," on court practices in Ohio. The report told the story of one couple, John Bundren and Samantha Reed, who both had racked up court fines. Bundren's, which traced back to underage drinking and public intoxication convictions from his teenage years, totaled $3,000. They paid her fines before his, and Bundren ended up spending 41 days in jail because he couldn't pay his own.

The ACLU found that seven out of 11 counties they studied were operating de facto debtors' prisons, despite clear "constitutional and legislative prohibitions." Some were worse than others. In the second half of 2012 in Huron County, 20 percent of arrests were for failure to pay fines. The Sandusky Municipal Court in Erie County jailed 75 people in a little more than a month during the summer of 2012. The ACLU says it costs upwards of $400 in Ohio to execute a warrant and $65 a night to jail people.

As a result of the study, the Ohio State Supreme Court has begun educating judges and personnel on the statutes and constitutional restrictions of collecting fines and fees, Bret Crow, spokesman for the state court, told It is also developing a "bench card," intended as a reference guide for county judges.

More recently in Colorado, the state ACLU completed a report on "pay or serve" programs throughout the state. In the case of Wheatridge and Northglenn counties, the penalty was one day in the clink for every $50 owed; in Westminster, every offender got an automatic 10 days in jail.

The report also found that one jail racked up more than $70,000 in costs for incarcerating 154 people over a five-month period in 2012 -- and only managed to collect $40,000 in overdue fines and fees in that time.

Mark Silverstein, a staff attorney at the Colorado ACLU, claimed judges in these courts never assess the defendants' ability to pay before sentencing them to jail, which would be unconstitutional.

John Stipech, Municipal Court judge in Westminster, Colo., told he agreed with the tenets of the ACLU investigation, but added that the practice of the automatic 10-day jail sentence was already scrapped by Westminster in December 2012. "It was because we had jail space problems and beds needed to be limited to actual criminals," he said.

He complained that local coverage of the ACLU report "makes it sound like we're putting everyone in jail." He said he asks everyone who comes before him if they have the ability to pay. He acknowledged, however, that his court is working with the ACLU and will be instituting formal "show cause" hearings to determine indigence.

"Maybe the ACLU did some good, they brought it to my attention. Maybe they just should have done it in a better way," Stipech said.

Brooke-Eisen said the reform movement is proceeding, albeit slowly in tough fiscal times.

"A lot of the jurisdictions are still using fines and fees and passing legislation to add more fees and fines," she said.


Obamacare Bleeding From Self-Inflicted Wounds

11/16/2013 - 10:32

Douglas Bloomfield

The worst wounds a politician can suffer are usually self-inflicted. Nixon had Watergate, Clinton had Monica Lewinsky, Reagan had Iran-Contra, Bush 41 had "read my lips" and his son, Bush 43, had Katrina.

And now it's Barack Obama and "if you like your insurance plan you can keep it."

House Republicans have passed more than 40 bills, amendments and resolutions and they even shut down the government for 16 days at a cost of $24 billion to the U.S. economy in repeated failed efforts to stop Obamacare. They held funding for the federal government hostage to their demand that Obama agree to kill (defund) his signature legislative achievement.

Instead it was the Republicans who ran up the white flag, but not before doing enormous damage – not to Obama and Obamacare but to themselves. They didn't lay a finger on the President. Public approval for the Congress has dived to single digits; Democrats fare better than Republicans in the public view, but only by comparison.

Republicans compounded their incredibly damaging self-inflicted wounds by deflecting all attention to their shutdown and overshadowing the botched rollout of the Obamacare website and enrollment effort. Obama's approval rating went up in the wake of his tough and successful stand against the Republican shutdown blackmail.

It took a while for most people to notice that the Obamacare rollout was a fiasco.

Republicans are talking about repairing Obamacare, but that's a hoax. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Rep. Fred Upton (R-Michigan), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce committee and author of the so-called "repair" bill that passed the House with 39 Democratic votes, admit that repair is the last thing they want to do.

"There's not a Republican out there who wouldn't want to repeal it," Upton told CNN's Jake Tapper, who asked whether his bill wasn't a "Trojan horse" because he really isn't interested in repairing Obamacare.

But don't blame the Republicans for what went wrong; all their efforts to damage and destroy the Affordable Care Act have failed, sometimes, like the shutdown, with disastrous consequences for them. What has Obamacare bleeding and in the ICU are self-inflicted wounds.

The President faces a slow, painful recovery. He's apologized, taken responsibility ("the buck stops here"), said he's "sorry," promised a quick fix that he can't deliver, asked for help from an unsympathetic insurance industry and pleads ignorance because staff didn't tell him about the problems. There's been a shuffling around of staff to make the website and sign-up work, but so far no one is being held accountable, no one has lost their job.

And Barack Obama is left out there twisting slowly, slowly in the wind, suffering from the damage done to Obamacare with no one to blame but himself for this self-inflicted wound.


Obama's Speeches 2013

14 January 2013

Final First Term Press Conference


16 January 2013

On Signing Executive Actions to Reduce Gun Violence


20 January 2013



29 January 2013

Comprehensive Immigration Reform Speech


12 February 2013

Fourth Presidential State of the Union


15 February 2013

On Strengthening the Economy for the Middle Class


26 February 2013

Newport News Speech on the Impact of the Sequester


27 February 2013

Rosa Parks Statue Dedication Speech


22 March 2013

Jerusalem International Convention Center Speech


03 April 2013

Gun Violence Reduction Speech in Colorado


08 April 2013

Gun Violence Reduction Speech in Connecticut


11 April 2013

U.S. Army Chaplain Emil Kapaun Medal of Honor Award


15 April 2013

First Statement on Boston Marathon Bombings


16 April 2013

Second Statement on Boston Marathon Bombings


17 April 2013

On Senate Vote Against Background Check Gun Amendment


19 April 2013

Third Statement on Boston Marathon Bombings


19 April 2013

Boston Interfaith Prayer Service Speech


25 April 2013

George W. Bush Presidential Library Dedication Speech


25 April 2013

West Fertilizer Plant Tragedy Memorial Speech


27 April 2013

White House Correspondents Dinner Speech


30 April 2013

Press Q&A on Syria and Sundry Topics


03 May 2013

Speech to the People of Mexico


15 May 2013

Remarks on IG Audit of the IRS


19 May 2013

Morehouse College Commencement Address


23 May 2013

National Defense University Speech on Terrorism


24 May 2013

U.S. Naval Academy Commencement Address


07 June 2013

On Affordable Care Act and Government Domestic Surveillance


11 June 2013

US Senate Call to Comprehensive Immigration Reform


17 June 2013

Northern Ireland Speech


19 June 2013

Brandenburg Gate Speech


30 June 2013

Cape Town University Speech


19 July 2013

Speech on Trayvon Martin


24 July 2013

Knox College Speech on the Economy


09 August 2013

Intelligence Gathering Reform Press Conference


28 August 2013

'Let Freedom Ring' Ceremony Speech


31 August 2013

On Syrian Government Use of Chemical Weapons


10 September 2013

Speech to the Nation on Syria


22 September 2013

Navy Yard Shooting Memorial Speech


24 September 2013

United Nations 68th Session General Assembly Speech


02 October 2013

Government Shutdown Statement


21 October 2013

Affordable Care Act Website Issues Address


11 November 2013

Veterans Day Address


14 November 2013

Affordable Care Act Changes Press Conference


23 November 2013

Iran Accord Statement


05 December 2013

On the Passing of Nelson "Madiba" Mandela


10 December 2013

Address at the Public Memorial for Nelson Mandela



How 2013 Became The 'Gayest Year Ever'

 by Ari Shapiro
December 26, 2013 4:34 PM
Listen to the Story
All Things Considered
7 min 14 sec

 Utah's surprise decision to legalize same-sex marriage caps a landmark year for gay rights. The last 12 months saw a huge string of victories, from state legislatures, to Congress, to the Supreme Court.

Copyright © 2013 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.


From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

It's the time of year when we look back on the winners and losers of 2013. And for gay rights groups, the last 12 months saw a huge string of victories, from state legislatures to Congress to the Supreme Court. The surprise ruling in Utah legalizing same-sex marriage is just the latest win. NPR's Ari Shapiro reports on why some LGBT advocates are calling 2013 the gayest year ever.

ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: At the start of this year, millions of people watched President Obama deliver his second inaugural address. Gay rights advocates were shocked and delighted to hear him speak forcefully for their cause.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The most evident of truths - that all of us are created equal - is the star that guides us still, just as it guided our forbearers through Seneca Falls and Selma and Stonewall.

SHAPIRO: With one alliterative phrase, the president connected women's suffrage, civil rights and the LGBT movement into a single fight for equality. And he went on.

OBAMA: Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law. For if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.

SHAPIRO: The justices of the Supreme Court sat just behind the president and a few months later, they delivered the biggest gay rights ruling in at least a decade. In a 5-4 vote, the court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

EDITH WINDSOR: Today is like a spectacular event for me.

SHAPIRO: Eighty-four-year old Edith Windsor challenged the law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman. On the steps of the high court, Windsor remembered her wife and partner of 40 years.
WINDSOR: I mean, it's a lifetime kind of event. And I know that the spirit of my late spouse, Thea Spyer, OK, is right here watching and listening and would be very proud and happy of where we've come to.
SHAPIRO: On the same day, the justices struck down California's same-sex marriage ban. California was one of nine states, including Utah, to legalize marriage this year. That's as many as all the previous years combined. Evan Wolfson runs the group Freedom to Marry. He remembers 30 years ago when he decided to write his law school thesis about same-sex marriage.

EVAN WOLFSON: I had brought it to several professors and asked them to be the adviser to my paper. And many of them turned me down, some of them because it seemed too farfetched. It seemed too unattainable. And some turned it down because they probably thought it was a goal really not worth fighting for and, therefore, not particularly worth analyzing.

SHAPIRO: When Wolfson created Freedom to Marry 10 years ago, not one state allowed gay couples to wed. Today, almost 40 percent of Americans live in states where same-sex marriage is legal. On the other side, more than 30 states have constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage but that trend has been slowing. The last state to pass such a ban was North Carolina in 2012. Chad Griffin runs the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign.

CHAD GRIFFIN: Look, in many ways, we have two Americas today, right. We have the coasts and a couple of dots in the middle where we have nearly achieved full legal equality. But then you have the rest of the country. You have the South and you have the Midwest. And those places, they only saw and read about those victories.

SHAPIRO: But even in the South and the Midwest, people are seeing more gay characters on TV, corporations are becoming more LGBT-friendly, and this year broke new ground in Congress, too. Right now, it's legal in many states to fire people for being gay. In the Senate, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act protecting LGBT workers came up for a vote and passed 64 to 32.

Not one lawmaker spoke on the Senate floor against it and some of ENDA's most vocal supporters were Republicans. And it prompted Mark Kirk of Illinois to give his first Senate floor speech since suffering a major stroke almost two years ago.

SENATOR MARK KIRK: I think it's particularly appropriate for an Illinois Republican to speak on behalf of this measure in the true tradition of Everett McKinley Dirksen and Abraham Lincoln, men who gave us the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.

SHAPIRO: Winnie Stachelberg has spent decades in Washington and she says the change here is dramatic. She's now with the liberal Center for American Progress.

WINNIE STACHELBERG: I was around in 1996 when the Senate failed, 49 to 50, to pass ENDA. And so 17 years later, that is a huge, huge step forward for ending discrimination in the workplace against gay and transgendered employees.

SHAPIRO: But Speaker John Boehner kept the bill from a vote in the House, meaning ENDA has not become law. Peter Sprigg is with the Family Research Council, a group that opposes ENDA and same-sex marriage.

PETER SPRIGG: Certainly, there were some victories for the homosexual activist movement this year. But some of the major issues were kind of half-victories.

SHAPIRO: For example, the Prop 8 Supreme Court ruling on California's marriage law was only a partial victory. It did not mandate same-sex marriage across the country. And Sprigg thinks the country could be entering a period of stasis on marriage, where the easy battles on both sides have all been fought.

SPRIGG: So I think we may be headed for sort of a standoff where the real battle will be to see if they can repeal any of the existing constitutional amendments which exist in a majority of states.

SHAPIRO: Beyond politics, gay people had some dramatic breakthroughs in 2013. This was the year Pope Francis reached out to gay Catholics in a way no pope has done before.
POPE FRANCIS: (Foreign language spoken)

SHAPIRO: He said, if a person is gay and seeks God and has goodwill, who am I to judge him? This year, California and New Jersey became the first states to ban conversion therapy for minors; 2013 was the year the country's oldest and largest ex-gay group shutdown. Exodus President Alan Chambers.

ALAN CHAMBERS: I understand why I'm distrusted and why Exodus is hated. I cannot ask you to forgive me. That would be presumptuous. But please know that I'm deeply sorry.

SHAPIRO: On the Oprah Winfrey Network, Chambers apologized for the harm he and his organization caused gay people.

CHAMBERS: I'm sorry that when I celebrated a person coming to Christ and surrendering their sexuality to him, that I callously celebrated the end of relationships that broke your heart.

SHAPIRO: So what's responsible for this massive national sea change? Chad Griffin of HRC attributes it to the same thing a San Francisco city supervisor talked about 40 years ago.

GRIFFIN: Harvey Milk said it in 1973. The most important thing we can do is come out - come out at home, come out at school, come out at church. Because when you know us, you don't hate us.

SHAPIRO: 2013 may have been the gayest year yet. But people like Chad Griffin argue that 2012 was also the gayest year to date and so was 2011 before that. For the last several years, the trend in this country has moved in only one direction. Ari Shapiro, NPR News, Washington.

Copyright © 2013 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

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New Year's Eve 2013: Sonia Sotomayor to drop Times Square ball


Sotomayor joins other politicians who have taken part in the New Year’s Eve tradition. | AP Photos

By LUCY MCCALMONT | 12/30/13 6:13 AM EST

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor will help ring in 2014 in New York City on Tuesday by pushing the button to start the famed Times Square ball drop.

Sotomayor — a native New Yorker — will lead the celebratory crowds by pushing the crystal button at 11:59 p.m., kicking off the final countdown, event organizers announced in a news release.

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“Justice Sotomayor is an inspiration to many, and it is a privilege to welcome her to our celebration to ring in 2014,” said Times Square Alliance President Tim Tompkins.

(PHOTOS: Who’s who on the Supreme Court)

Sotomayor joins other politicians who have taken part in the New Year’s Eve tradition. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell led the ball drop in 2004 and Bill and Hillary Clinton assumed the role in 2008.

However, Tompkins said that regular attendee Mayor Michael Bloomberg will not be present at this year’s ball drop, according to Reuters. The outgoing mayor, who led last year’s celebrations with The Rockettes, will instead be celebrating privately with family and friends.

Sotomayor was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2009.


CONFERENCE on Work-free Sundays and Decent Work

Conference on Work-free Sundays and Decent Work


on Work-free Sundays and Decent Work

Tuesday 21 January 2014 at the EU Parliament (Brussels)

The objective of this conference is to highlight the paramount importance a work-free Sunday and decent working hours for citizens throughout Europe and is not necessarily to be set against economic competitiveness. All people in the European Union should be entitled to benefit from work-free Sundays and decent working hours.
For a couple of years now, the socio-economic crisis has been overshadowing European Union policy making. The situation in many Member States is critical: political instability is increasing and social balances are at risk. Europe is facing many challenges such as demographic change, unemployment especially among young people, poverty and social exclusion. Austerity, further liberalisation and flexibility are very often seen as key solutions for getting out of the crisis. Social protection and social rights seem to be put aside. However, employment and the creation of jobs and economic competitiveness in Europe are the main requirements for overcoming the crisis. But what kind of jobs do we need in Europe? Can competitiveness and decent work and a common weekly rest day go hand in hand, and under what conditions? We believe: Competitiveness needs innovation, innovation needs creativity and creativity needs recreation!

2013 is the European Year of Citizens. Sunday protection strengthens the social cohesion of our societies. It therefore represents a precious achievement which should be recognised as a pillar of the European Social and Economic Model. We believe that today, legislation and practices in place at the EU and Member State levels need to be more protective of the health, safety, dignity of everyone and should more attentively promote the balance between family and private life and work.

The Members of Parliament Evelyn Regner (S&D) and Thomas Mann (EPP)


The European Sunday Alliance
Invite you to

The Second European Conference on the Protection of a Work-free Sunday and Decent Work


What can the Members of the European Parliament do to promote the idea?

Date: Tuesday 21 January 2013

Time: 9:00 to 17:15

Venue: European Parliament, Brussels, Room PHS 7C050

  1. 1st SESSION: Decent work and work-free Sundays in times of crisis
  2. 2nd SESSION: Balancing family and private life and work - towards a happy and healthy life
  3. 3rd SESSION: How a work-free Sunday enables citizens´ participation and voluntary engagement


Data required for an access badge to the EU Parliament

Conference on Work-free Sundays and Decent Work 21.01.2014,


Pledge for a work-free Sunday and decent work



Pledge for a work-free Sunday and decent work

ahead of the European elections 2014

"A work-free Sunday and decent working hours are of paramount importance for citizens and workers throughout Europe and are not necessarily in conflict with economic competitiveness.

Especially in the present time of socio-economic crisis, the adoption of legislation extending working hours to late evenings, nights, bank holidays and Sundays has direct consequences for the working conditions of employees and for small and medium sized enterprises. Competitiveness needs innovation, innovation needs creativity and creativity needs recreation!

As a current or future Member of the European Parliament I pledge:


1. To ensure that all relevant EU-legislation both respects and promotes the protection of a common weekly day of rest for all EU citizens, which shall be in principle on a Sunday, in order to protect workers' health and promote a better balance between family and private life and work;

2. To promote EU-legislation guaranteeing sustainable working time patterns based on the principle of decent work benefiting society as well as the economy as a whole.

Signatures collected:

Download the pledge in your language (PDF):

English - French- German- Bulgarian - Croatian - Czech - Danish - Dutch - Estonian- Finnish - Greek - Hungarian - Italian - Irish - Latvian - Lithuanian - Maltese - Polish - Portuguese -Romanian - Slovak - Slovenian - Spanish - Swedish

Now it's up to YOU !

Contact your MEP and MEP-Candidate and call on her/him to commit her/himself
To ensure that all relevant EU-legislation both respects and promotes the protection of a common weekly day of rest for all EU citizens, which shall in principle be on a Sunday, in order to protect workers' health and promote a better balance between family and private life and work;
To promote EU-legislation guaranteeing sustainable working time patterns based on the principle of decent work benefiting society as well as the economy as a whole.

by signing THE PLEDGE!

--> Please take a PHOTO of the signing and send us the name and the photo:

We will publish it on our website. Photos, that we receive before Wednesday, 15 January 2014 will be included in the presentation of the campaign during our conference at the European Parliament on 21 January 2013.


AH plastered because of Sunday rest

Netherlands Dec26

Posted by Audrey Graanoogst on 14:48 CET, Thursday, 26, December, 2013 in Netherlands

In ‘s-Gravendeel, near Dordrecht, angry churchgoers plastered a branch of Albert Heijn with pamphlets. They call on customers to stop shopping there, because the supermarkets will be open on Sundays from now on.This past Sunday the Albert Heijn was open on Sunday for the first time, much to the annoyance of some church goers, who feel the branch manager should adhere to the Sunday rest.

AH pamphlet

People are called upon to do their shopping in stores that do respect the Sunday rest, according to the angry churchgoers. The pamphlets also state that the boycott will only be canceled if the supermarket in ’s-Gravendeel remains closed on Sundays.

The Facebook page of the grocery store shows a response to the plaster campaign: ’Hopefully they are captured nicely by camera images, so we can plaster them in the media without any respect for privacy.’


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Car Bomb Rips Through Beirut, and More

A Statement from the Society of Jesus on Time Magazine’s Selection of Pope Francis as Person of the Year

Head of U.S. Jesuit Order Congratulates Pope on Honor

For Immediate Release

(Washington, D.C., December 11, 2013) — Pope Francis has been named 2013’s“Person of the Year,” the iconic title given to one individual or group each year since 1927 by the editors of Time magazine. The title goes to the person who has had the greatest impact on the world and news for the past year, and previous recipients include Mahatma Gandhi, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Martin Luther King Jr., as well as two popes: Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II.

According to Father Thomas H. Smolich, S.J., president of the Jesuit Conference, “Pope Francis is a man with a deep connection to the poor and marginalized. He knows how to translate what is in his heart into actions — whether it’s washing the feet of Muslim prisoners on Holy Thursday to launching a global campaign to end world hunger to establishing a commission to address the clerical sexual abuse crisis. He desires to lead a Church that unifies rather than divides, and he gives both believers and seekers a reason to be proud.

“The Society of Jesus salutes Pope Francis, our Jesuit brother, on the singular honor of being named Time magazine’s Person of the Year,” said Fr. Smolich.

About the Society of Jesus in the United States

Founded in 1540 by St. Ignatius Loyola, the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) is the largest order of priests and brothers in the Roman Catholic Church. The Jesuits operate 28 colleges and universities, 54 high schools and 67 parishes in the United States and engage in a variety of ministries. As religious, Jesuits commit themselves to observe vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in practicing a faith that promotes justice. For more information on the Society of Jesus in the United States, visit



The Secret Terrorists - Bill Hughes on Wayward Son Radio

The Secret Terrorists - Bill Hughes on Wayward Son Radio mp4

the jesuits' jungle

Published on May 26, 2013

Author and Pastor Bill Hughes discusses world politics and biblical history with John at Wayward Son Radio on Blogtalk.
Listen part 2 :

The Secret Terrorists.
A secret terrorist organization has been working from within for a very long time to destroy the United States, it's Constitution, as well as all other "popular governments". This book will open your eyes to history as they have never been opened before.

The Jesuits of Rome can be very secretive, yet their hand can be felt in the Federal Reserve Bank, the CFR, the sinking of the Titanic, and the destruction at Waco, Ruby Ridge, the Oklahoma Federal building bombing, and the attack we now call "911". The objective is foment terror by causing one emergency after another, as our lawmakers transfer more and more power to the government, eroding our precious civil liberties granted in our Constitution and Bill of Rights. If you would like to know what the Vietnam war was really about, this author will provide you with the motives behind it. If you enjoyed the books Rulers Of Evil, Secret History of the Jesuits, and Unseen Hand, this book will bring everything into sharper focus; so much so, you will want to loan this book to your closest friends and family -- while you still can.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Eternal Gospel - Ministry Updates

No Sanctification Without Obedience

 I have met many who claimed to live without sin. But when tested by God’s word these persons were found to be open transgressors of His holy law. The clearest evidences of the perpetuity and binding force of the fourth commandment failed to arouse the conscience. They could not deny the claims of God, but ventured to excuse themselves in breaking the Sabbath. They claimed to be sanctified, and to serve God on all days of the week. Many good people, they said, did not keep the Sabbath. If men were sanctified, no condemnation would rest upon them if they did not observe it. God was too merciful to punish them for not keeping the seventh day. They would be counted singular in the community should they observe the Sabbath, and would have no influence in the world. And they must be subject to the powers that be.

A lady in New Hampshire bore her testimony in a public meeting that the grace of God was ruling in her heart and that she was wholly the Lord’s. She then expressed her belief that this people were doing much good in arousing sinners to see their danger. She said, “The Sabbath that this people present to us is the only Sabbath of the Bible”; and then stated that her mind had been very much exercised upon the subject. She saw great trials before her, which she must meet if she kept the seventh day. The next day she came to meeting and again bore her testimony, saying she had asked the Lord if she must keep the Sabbath, and He had told her she need not keep it. Her mind was now at rest upon that subject. She then gave a most stirring exhortation for all to come to the perfect love of Jesus, where there was no condemnation to the soul.

This woman did not possess genuine sanctification. It was not God who told her that she could be sanctified while living in disobedience to one of His plain commandments. God’s law is sacred, and none can transgress it with impunity. The one who told her that she could continue to break God’s law and be sinless was the prince of the powers of darkness—the same who told Eve in Eden, through the serpent, “Ye shall not surely die” (Gen. 3:4). Eve flattered herself that God was too kind to punish her for disobedience of His express commands. The same sophistry is urged by thousands in excuse of their disobedience of the fourth commandment. Those who have the mind of Christ will keep all of God’s commandments, irrespective of circumstances. The Majesty of heaven says, “I have kept my Father’s commandments” (John 15:10).

Adam and Eve dared to transgress the Lord’s requirements, and the terrible result of their sin should be a warning to us not to follow their example of disobedience. Christ prayed for His disciples in these words: “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17). There is no genuine sanctification except through obedience to the truth. Those who love God with all the heart will love all His commandments also. The sanctified heart is in harmony with the precepts of God’s law; for they are holy, just, and good..
The Sanctified Life, p.66,67.

The UN & the Occult Agenda - Walter Veith


Walter Veith - (26) The UN & the Occult Agenda / Total Onslaught


Uploaded on Dec 29, 2011
In this video, the hidden agenda of the UN is clearly exposed. From its inception to its ultimate goal, the creation of a global religio-political system will have far-reaching consequences for every individual on Earth and possible catastrophic consequences for those who trust in salvation in Christ alone.

This presentation includes a look at Robert Mueller's school and philosophy, and how the cosmic christ and the United Nations go together.


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Has Spiritualism changed?

It is true that spiritualism is now changing its form and, veiling some of its more objectionable features, is assuming a Christian guise. But its utterances from the platform and the press have been before the public for many years, and in these its real character stands revealed. These teachings cannot be denied or hidden.

Even in its present form, so far from being more worthy of toleration than formerly, it is really a more dangerous, because a more subtle, deception. While it formerly denounced Christ and the Bible, it now professes to accept both. But the Bible is interpreted in a manner that is pleasing to the unrenewed heart, while its solemn and vital truths are made of no effect. Love is dwelt upon as the chief attribute of God, but it is degraded to a weak sentimentalism, making little distinction between good and evil. God's justice, His denunciations of sin, the requirements of His holy law, are all kept out of sight. The people are taught to regard the Decalogue as a dead letter. Pleasing, bewitching fables captivate the senses and lead men to reject the Bible as the foundation of their faith. Christ is as verily denied as before; but Satan has so blinded the eyes of the people that the deception is not discerned.

There are few who have any just conception of the deceptive power of spiritualism and the danger of coming under its influence. Many tamper with it merely to gratify their curiosity. They have no real faith in it and would be filled with horror at the thought of yielding themselves to the spirits' control. But they venture upon the forbidden ground, and the mighty destroyer exercises his power upon them against their will. Let them once be induced to submit their minds to his direction, and he holds them captive. It is impossible, in their own strength, to break away from the bewitching, alluring spell. Nothing but the power of God, granted in answer to the earnest prayer of faith, can deliver these ensnared souls.

All who indulge sinful traits of character, or willfully cherish a known sin, are inviting the temptations of Satan.

They separate themselves from God and from the watchcare of His angels; as the evil one presents his deceptions, they are without defense and fall an easy prey. Those who thus place themselves in his power little realize where their course will end. Having achieved their overthrow, the tempter will employ them as his agents to lure others to ruin.

Says the prophet Isaiah: "When they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." Isaiah 8:19, 20. If men had been willing to receive the truth so plainly stated in the Scriptures concerning the nature of man and the state of the dead, they would see in the claims and manifestations of spiritualism the working of Satan with power and signs and lying wonders. But rather than yield the liberty so agreeable to the carnal heart, and renounce the sins which they love, multitudes close their eyes to the light and walk straight on, regardless of warnings, while Satan weaves his snares about them, and they become his prey. "Because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved," therefore "God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie." 2 Thessalonians 2:10, 11.

Those who oppose the teachings of spiritualism are assailing, not men alone, but Satan and his angels. They have entered upon a contest against principalities and powers and wicked spirits in high places. Satan will not yield one inch of ground except as he is driven back by the power of heavenly messengers. The people of God should be able to meet him, as did our Saviour, with the words: "It is written." Satan can quote Scripture now as in the days of Christ, and he will pervert its teachings to sustain his delusions. Those who would stand in this time of peril must understand for themselves the testimony of the Scriptures.

 The Great Controversy, p.557-559.

Pastor Leads A New Brand Of Church For 'Sinners And Saints'

December 24, 2013 3:35 AM


Morning Edition
Listen to the Story

7 min 20 sec

Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber, shown here officiating civil union ceremonies in Denver in May, wrote a book on faith that recently landed on the New York Times best-seller list. 
Anna Hanel/Colorado Public Radio 

It's Sunday evening, and services are just getting underway at the House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver. Nearly 200 worshipers sit in circles of plastic chairs around a simple altar table. Together they follow traditional Christian rites. They sit. They stand. They sing.

The congregation here resembles the crowd at a downtown bookshop — hipsters and college professors, gay couples and Democratic grandmas. But even in this crowd, the congregation's pastor, with her short, moussed hair and armloads of religious tattoos, stands out as she launches into a sermon about Jesus on the cross.

"In our win-lose way of understanding things, it would have made a lot more sense for Jesus to have come and been a superhero — kicking ass and taking names, showing everyone how strong God is by winning at our game," she tells the congregation.

Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber is a bit of a Lutheran rock star at the moment, although the term makes her cringe. Her new book, Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint, recently hit the New York Times best-seller list.

What she and her church are trying to do, she says, is simple and radical: create an authentic Christian experience without the pretension that can come with church.

"I think people's tolerance for bullshit is at an all-time low," she says.

Members of the church meet at Denver coffeehouses during the week for what they call "office hours" —€” informal and often highly irreverent chats. Jim Smelser/House for All Sinners and Saints 

What people want, she says, is a spiritual community that's beautiful and transformative and maybe even transgressive — and that's not what you find in most churches, conservative or liberal.

"We've been given social conventions, we've been given basically the Elks Club with Eucharist, or we've been given a place to gather on Sundays where basically what we hear is the same as the platform of the Democratic Party," she says. "I don't think the early Christians martyred themselves for either of these things."

Bolz-Weber's path to becoming an increasingly public theologian was rocky, to say the least. Early in adulthood she drifted away from her parents' conservative Church of Christ and into a lost period of drugs and alcohol, only to find God again as she was struggling to get sober. That checkered history is something she talks about openly, trying to help others feel comfortable with their own failings.

"There was a young woman, I took her confession — and it was for real, it was something really heavy — and she was super tense at the beginning, and then she relaxed," Bolz-Weber says. "Then we were kind of laughing, and she goes, 'Oh, my gosh, I'm so glad you're my pastor, because I know you've done much worse than that.' So that's also a service I offer."

The faith that the congregation practices is, for lack of a better word, orthodox Lutheran. Even the congregation's name — House for All Sinners and Saints — comes from Martin Luther's belief that everyone is simultaneously all sinner and all saint.

But "House," as it's often called, does practice its faith differently from most congregations. It offers communion to everyone, regardless of whether they've been baptized, and it opens the liturgy to all who want to participate. That really struck parishioner Stephen Ludwig when he first attended a service after a decade away from the church.

"Everyone that shows up has the opportunity to read scripture, serve communion, participate in the service," he says. "Liturgy is supposed to be 'of the people,' and this really brings it back to that."

Welcoming all is the animating idea behind House, but it can be a challenging one. As Bolz-Weber's popularity has grown, so many people have started visiting that there often aren't enough chairs for the regulars.

Longtime worshiper Stuart Sanks admits that having so many new people stopping in can be difficult.

"Sometimes it feels like House is losing that idea of what made it different. But that's just something we're trying to figure out and work through and make the best of stewarding the responsibility, I guess, that we've been given."

For Bolz-Weber, that responsibility is exciting — rethinking the way the church exists in the world today. She says she's more interested in her congregation having a dynamic, faithful relationship with God than getting hung up on the specifics of what they believe.

And while no single common belief holds the congregation together, Bolz-Weber says certain values are universal: to welcome everyone and take that message out into the world.


What Has NAFTA Done In Its Twenty Years?

Photo by Jill Replogle / KPBS

Above: The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is now two decades old.

Monday, December 16, 2013

By Jill Replogle

Twenty years ago, on Dec. 8, 1993, President Bill Clinton signed the North American Free Trade Agreement into law.

At the time, it was an unprecedented idea: Eliminating nearly all tariffs and trade barriers between two developed countries, Canada and the U.S., and another, Mexico, that was struggling with very high levels of poverty and weak infrastructure.

As we’ve reported, trade between the U.S and Mexico has quintupled since NAFTA took effect, on Jan. 1, 1994. And yet lines to cross the border are longer than ever, thanks to concerns over terrorism, drugs and illegal immigration, and insufficient border infrastructure.

NAFTA’s failure to address the movement of people across borders largely is responsible, some say, for mass illegal immigration to the U.S., one of the most contentious national issues of our time. And despite a major attempt by the U.S. Senate and Obama administration to address the problem this year, compromise seems far away.

On NAFTA’s 20th anniversary, many are lauding its accomplishments in boosting commerce and setting a template for free trade around the world.

Trade among the three countries has reached more than $1 trillion a year. And jobs in manufacturing and auxiliary industries have helped lift millions of Mexicans out of poverty.

Still almost half of Mexico’s population lives in poverty. And entire villages are terrorized into silence and inactivity by drug lords.

While Mexico’s economy shows healthy growth, returning migrants — either deported or moving back on their own, often struggle to find jobs. Many focus all their efforts on getting back to the U.S.

In a recent op-ed, the Wall Street Journal calls for “NAFTA 2.0,” saying North America has lost competitiveness and needs a new boost.

As the U.S. moves through negotiations on new trade pacts, notably the Trans-Pacific Partnership, NAFTA’s legacy surely will play a role.

JILL REPLOGLE, Fronteras Reporter

Related Content
U.S. Commerce Secretary Looks At 20 Years Of NAFTA | October 28, 2013
Arizona Versus Texas For Border Trade? Not Even A Contest | October 8, 2013
In Wake Of NAFTA, States Eye Global Supply Chain With Envy | October 29, 2012


The NSA is Coming to Town


Published on Dec 12, 2013

Yes, NSA spying is real. Please take action to end it now:

The Lyrics:

You better watch out,

You better not Skype,

You better log out,

Yeah you better not type,

The NSA is coming to town.

You're making a list,

They're checking it twice;

They're watching almost every electronic device,

The NSA is coming to town.

They see you when you're sleeping

They hear while you're awake

They know who you call and who you write

So encrypt for goodness' sake!

With Congress in the dark and a cloak-and-dagger court

We're lookin' for answers, they're comin' up short

The NSA is coming to town.

They're making a list,

Checking it twice;

They're watching almost every electronic device,

NSA is coming to town

The NSA is coming to town,

The NSA is coming to town.

Edward Snowden's Message to the World on Christmas 2013

Raw: Snowden Sends Christmas Day Message to US


Published on Dec 25, 2013

Former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden appeared in a televised Christmas message released to the British public by TV station Channel 4 on Wednesday. (Dec. 25)


Monday, December 23, 2013

Desi Explosion in the Mainstream Media

The Indo-Pak presence in the news media has skyrocketed in the last few years.  I have recently noticed this phenomenon as I hear the reporter's and correspondent's names mentioned while listening to the news programs on NPR.

  • At NPR you have Laksmi Singh, Arun Rath, Meghna Chakrabarti, Madhulika Sikka, Ammad Omar, Shankar Vedantam, and Akash Kapur.
  • at PBS you have Hari (Hariharan) Sreenivasan - Senior Correspondent, Director of Digital Partnerships.
  • Until recently at  MSNBCMartin Bashir,[1] and a correspondent for NBC's Dateline NBC.
  • at CNN: Fareed Rafiq Zakaria
    is an Indian-American journalist and author. From 2000 to 2010, he was a columnist for Newsweek and editor of Newsweek International. In 2010 he became editor-at-large of Time. He is the host of CNN's Fareed Zakaria
  • at Wall Street Journal: Gautham Nagesh (covers the FCC and tech policy from the Washington, D.C. Bureau of The Wall Street Journal).
  • at Bloomberg: Ramesh Panuru (columnist, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a senior editor at National Review).
I remember the first time I ever heard of people from India; I believe it was watching an old movie on Black and White TV, starring Sabu; I also remember Hadji, a character from the Johnny Quest Cartoon series in the mid 60's. Then, came the Beatles and their Music, (they made a psychedelic pilgrimage to India) along with Ravi Shankar (the Sitar musician), Gurus and Sandalwood Incense.   
Around 1967 there was a Indian clothing invasion consisting of Bermuda (Calcutta Madras) Shorts (multi-color checkerboard) and Sandals, the Nehru Jackets and Thom McAn Shoes with Calcutta Bombay Buckles...  Then came the Krishna Consciousness Movement and The Maharishi with his Transcendental Meditation...

Fast forward to 2013 and the Desi or Indo-Paks (India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and the dyaspora) are all over the American Mainstream Media.   

India: Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, and Farsi... 

Now, Mainstream USA...


Update 12/26/13.